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Arizona Wildcats trying to hold on to a pair of junior college recruits

Mario Alford

Mario Alford

When Arizona Wildcats safeties coach Tony Gibson left earlier this month for West Virginia, he tried to bring a couple of recruits along with him.

Gibson was the lead recruiter on a pair of Arizona recruits from Georgia Military College — linebacker Brandon Golson and running back Mario Alford. Despite being committed to the Wildcats, they each took an official visit to the campus in Morgantown, W.Va., last weekend.

The one Arizona apparently has to worry about is Alford, rated the 11th-best junior college recruit in the country by 247Sports.

“I’ve talked to the kids,” GMC offensive coordinator Ross Robinson said Wednesday afternoon.

“I think Golson is still solid (with Arizona). Mario seems to be on the fence right now. I don’t know what he is thinking. He just may not be sure.”

Robinson said Alford told him that he would make a decision Friday. Signing Day is next Wednesday.

Alford is an all-purpose back who can be used in a variety of ways in Rich Rodriguez’s spread offense at Arizona (same goes for Dana Holgorsen’s attack at West Virginia). One of Rodriguez’s goals is to get more speedy playmakers on the field, so Alford would fit the bill (as a potential kick returner, too), but Golson might be even more valuable to Arizona because he would bolster a young group of outside linebackers.

Golson, rated as a three-star recruit, is a former South Carolina signee.

“Brandon is an extremely explosive athlete,” Ross said. “He has a great change of direction, has cover skills and can be a ‘box’ linebacker.”

While Gibson’s attempt to lure recruits from Arizona doesn’t sound like the most loyal of moves, remember that all’s fair in recruiting.

When Rodriguez grabbed a trio of West Virginia coaches last January — defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich and cornerbacks coach David Lockwood — the Wildcats flipped running back J.T. Washington from his commitment to the Mountaineers.

Gibson has ties to the Georgia Military College coaching staff, but so does Rodriguez. He coached GMC defensive line coach Brian Hill at Glenville State and worked Bowden family football camps with Robinson. Robinson said he expects the Wildcats will remain active in recruiting Georgia Military College.

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